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How Do You Gain by Losing?

During my freshman year of college, my family sold the home that I grew up in and moved several states away. My mother encouraged me to transfer schools to be closer but I had already found my life on campus. They moved. I stayed in New York. That move had been my mother’s dream since I was a pre-teen. So, I knew it was coming. What I didn’t expect was how much loss I felt as I watched our "home" being sorted, reduced, and shipped off.

Besides what I kept with me in my dorm room, I squirreled away my childhood in four small boxes of albums (am I dating myself?) and mementos that were special to me. A neighbor promised to hold on to them until I was ready.

A basement flood and unknown circumstances left only one container when I finally had my own apartment that wasn’t provided by a university. I don’t even remember what was in those three lost bundles. But still, I felt the loss…

So, last year, when my husband read The More of Less by Joshua Becker and began to purge our home to lighten our “stuff” load, I began to feel uneasy. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. But I knew I didn’t like it.

I could live with his purging and maybe, be ok with it…as long as he didn’t touch anything of mine. To which, he agreed.

That didn’t curb the range of queasy feelings that I got as I watched him drag black contractor bags out to the curb or off to goodwill. What if he mistakenly threw out something I wanted or worse, needed? Does he really know what we need? Why couldn't he wait so we can do this together? These questions swirled around my head.

And continued for several weeks.

I’ll spare you the suspense…yes, he unwittingly threw away some things I wanted (Christmas garlands and possibly, my craft tools…still TBD) but nothing that was truly needed. I was incredibly disappointed and hurt by it. Mainly because I have a thing with my stuff that hearkens back to my younger years. All of which I realized only when he began purging.

It took some time but I processed my feelings and got over it.

I began reflecting on that series of episodes this week. I was thinking specifically about its catalyst, that book on minimalism. The big idea behind minimalism is to live an uncluttered life, pursuing your unique passions with fewer things. It means we stop our lives long enough to reevaluate our priorities and to decide how we can best live according to the position of those priorities. I’m all for that!

Apparently, minimalism runs on a spectrum…there are those who go completely off the grid and live separate from modern society. There are others who align their lives to reflect their greatest values but still own some stuff. Becker coined the term rational minimalism to describe this phenomenon. It’s about intentionally promoting the things that you value most and removing any distractions, he asserts. 

It makes complete sense. Why not live according to what I value most?

The real issue is that we are often so inundated with stuff to do/have that we don’t experience alignment between what we say we value and the time and resources we commit to it. This happens naturally during the holidays, graduation, or any busy season. However, when life seems to be running on the express track all the time, it may be time to slow things down. Or just stop for a while.

I began to think about conducting a little experiment with minimalism. Not just with physical stuff…but with my activity, as well.

As an entrepreneur, there is always a myriad of items awaiting attention. That number is even higher as a solopreneur. I tax my body, zap my energy, and deplete my brain’s functionality daily. And even with my best efforts to be intentional with my choices, I find myself out of sync with my priorities of taking better care of myself, my family, and maintaining my friendships. I find myself compromising to fit in another thing and slipping back into old ways and habits.

Has that ever happened to you?

Here’s the hypothesis of my experiment:

Will dialing up my self-care and refocusing on what I value most while reducing my activity help me to grow and develop better habits?

We will see. For the next few weeks, I am going dark. I’m doing a hard reset on my life and business.

What does that mean?

I’m still taking good care of my clients. However, you will not see any new posts here for a little while. But don’t worry. I will be back! (I love y'all! And I love our journey together.) When I return, I will share what I have learned…of course.

Until next time…

XO,

R

P.S. Why does this feel like I’m about to jump off a cliff or something? Is this what it feels like to "brave my wilderness" as Brené calls it? 😯

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